While I know that many of you are still busy prepping and selling at winter markets it is not too early to begin thinking about the spring/summer farmers’ markets. Now is the perfect time to pull out your display and do some refurbishing.Remember you have about three seconds to get the customer’s attention and draw them into your display.
Make new signs and collect a season’s worth of recipes to give away. Get them laminated so water from misting and the occasional rain shower doesn’t cause the lettering to run. Clean baskets, bins, umbrellas so they look refreshed and ready for the season.
Repair broken table legs, display racks and stands. Smooth the edges so clothing won’t snag when customers lean forward to make a selection. Make new tablecloths or wash up existing ones so they are clean. Pull together the supplies you will need to do sampling and/or demonstrations. Pull together some new photos of life on the farm and prepare to tell your story.
Start supplying your ‘go-to-market’ box with tape, scissors, extra labels and other supplies you need to make emergency repairs.
Good market display is key to great sales. Now is the time to start planning and designing. Set up your display to see how it looks and, when you have it just right, take photos and sketch out a map so you’ll know exactly how to recreate the look you want on market day. This is especially important if you have others helping you set up that might not be as familiar with the display as you are.
When you have your display pulled together and ready for the coming season, turn your attention to capturing customer feedback. If you have a mailing list compose a letter to your customers letting them know which markets you will be at and when/where they can find you. Tell them a bit about what you have been up to since the fall. Remind them how much their support means to you and your farm. Finally, offer them the opportunity to provide feedback on what they’d like to see at your market stand, which product(s) of yours they most enjoyed, what seasonal treat they are most looking forward to (strawberries!), and anything else that is on their mind.
These steps will get your market season off to a strong start.